back to article Half a century ago, NASA's Pioneer 10 visited Jupiter, then just kept going

It is 50 years since Pioneer 10, NASA's first all-nuclear electrical powered spacecraft, got up close and personal with our solar system's largest planet, Jupiter. Pioneer 10, the first of NASA's probes into the outer solar system, was launched from Cape Canaveral on March 3, 1972. The spacecraft was powered by radioisotope …

  1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    @Reg thx!

    Thanks for the reminder! Pioneer missions were a bit before my time. Although i heard of them this article summed it up with more information than I had before. Of to fill the gaps now, like this source.

    1. EricM

      Re: @Reg thx!


      And with regard to your link: 658 pages of pure tech RTFM ... much appreciated :)

      Plus, I just noticed somewhat unexpectedly that I seem to miss the times when new, complex products came with several kg of manuals ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Reg thx!

        The joy of proper documentation !!!


      2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: @Reg thx!

        You mean like the 700+ pages of MS-DOS 5.00 Manual? Which was actually helpful and taught me a lot? And got replaced in MS-DOS 6.x by "custom qbasic help file", which is inaccessible if there is a problem and you need it ?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember watching the blast off in black and white ...

    And we kind of forgot about it until it reached Jupiter almost 2 years later and delivered the most stunning images we had ever seen. I seem to remember a copy of New Scientist with about half devoted to the probe and especially the pictures.

    And not forgetting Pioneer 11, which trailed Pioneer 10 by a year to Jupiter and went on to Saturn in 1979 delivering even more awesome images.

    It was a truly wondrous time for space and lunar exploration.

    AC due to my ancientness, vanity and grumpitude - though you can do the maths!

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I remember watching the Pioneer images of Jupiter in awe (in the National Geographic Magazine)

    I was hooked by the Apollo programme, nagged my parent's to allow me to see Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon live (they allowed it, bless them), and later built my own Newtonian telescope (as a teenager). One of the most awesome sights is always Jupiter wit its ever-changing cloud belts, and the dance of the Galilean moons. I followed the Pioneer, Viking and Voyager programmes avidly, and now have the privilege of contributing to data analysis of EUCLID images. Sheer bliss.

    1. Catkin Silver badge

      Re: I remember watching the Pioneer images of Jupiter in awe (in the National Geographic Magazine)

      >to allow me to see Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon live

      Many parents today are afraid to let their children play outside, much less travel to the Moon to watch a landing take place.

  4. Lazlo Woodbine

    I think one of the best things about NASA is all those amazing photos are in the public domain.

    Back in the 80's I wrote to NASA to ask for some information about the Space Shuttle for a school project, I remember I just put NASA on the envelope with an airmail stamp.

    I didn't expect a response, especially as I'm in the UK, but a few weeks later I got a 2 inch thick package through the post, it was stuffed with photos and documentation about the Space Shuttle and its missions, it even had about 50 pages detailing the Challenger disaster. That lot made for the best school project I ever did.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "While the Voyager probes impressed with the science collected and their astonishing longevity, it is important to remember the trailblazer that went before."

    Well said.

    And now I feel older than ever.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      > And now I feel older than ever.

      You are older than ever, every second...

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